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  • Cleaning Turnout?

    How do you clean your turnout? For the first time in a long time, my turnout gear, espescailly my yellow reflective striping (It's solid yellow) is really dirty. Soak it in water?

  • #2
    It depends on what type of gear you have. We use Securitex and the only way to get it clean is in a washing machine with a mild detergent, like Wisk or Woolite. I would suggest reading the care instructions with the gear to keep from posibly damaging it.
    Stay Safe, Chip

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    • #3
      Usually when we clean our gear after a call or just over time we use a washing machine with NON-bleaching soap and then run it through the dryier on med temp. or just let them air dry..hasn't hurt our gear. just make sure with the manufacturer that it won't damage the gear.

      Robert A. Klinger, Jr.
      JUNIOR FIREFIGHTER
      stay safe!!!!

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      • #4
        Turnout gear should be washed in an extraction type of washing machine..these are front loading machines. The gear manufacturer's washing and care directions should be followed.

        Do not wash turnouts in your home washing machine! The contaminants removed from the gear can remain in the small amount of water that remains in the bottom of the tub

        ------------------
        Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting everyone's tomorrows!
        Captain Gonzo


        [This message has been edited by Captain Gonzo (edited 05-31-2001).]

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        • #5
          We use the industrial washing machines, the front loading style. Works Well!

          ------------------
          -Be Safe
          (The above comments do not reflect those of my department or other members)

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          • #6
            Other than rinsing off with a hose and fresh water to wash off plaster and soot and then air drying, I must admit to never washing my turnout gear. This may not be the right thing to do and I know the manufacturers recommend washing, but it is reality.

            Not trying to make excuses or justify what I do, but I have yet to see dirty gear burst into flame or be proven to cause cancer and I'm really not that concerned about it. Not that it hasn't happened somewhere. I'm sure there are some who have stories and statistics to dispute me but I'm a hard sell. Of course, I smoked for 30 years too, even after knowing all the dangers. I finally quit 6 years ago so there's hope for me yet on the turnout gear issue.

            Please don't take my comments to mean you shouldn't wash your gear. I'm merely saying what I personally do.

            ------------------
            Mike Gentili, Capt.
            New Bedford Fire Dept.

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            • #7
              While an extracton washer is best, we haen't invested in one yet. We do have a heavy duty household type washer in the station which is used only for turnout gear and other items for which contamination isn't a problem (the rags we use to wipe down the trucks after washing, for example). Some non-bleaching detergent, wash on warm, and this does a good job.

              What was said earlier about contamination is true...you don't want to be washing turnouts in a machine you're using for your underwear and towels, etc.

              Also, you should hang-dry your gear, biut not in direct sunlight. Materials such as Nomex can shrink in the dryer (this happeed to me some time ago) and, even if your shell doesn't shrink, dryers are hard on things like velcro, if you have them on your gear someplace. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight degrades the protective capacity of Nomex and the ultraviolet spectrum of direct sunlight chemically breaks down PBI gear over time. I've seen this happen, too...this is also why you shouldn't keep your gear in the passenger compartment of your car/truck.

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              • #8
                I just washed mine for the first time the other day. I pulled out the guts and washed them seperatly from the outer shell. I just used a regular washing machine, wisk, and cold water. Then, per the instructions, I let them air dry (acutally, I put a fan on them overnight). It worked great - only problem is they smell a little too clean! Someone needs to make smoke smelling soap!

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                • #9
                  We have an extraction system that works really well. I wash my turnouts after any major incident or if it gets dirty and starts to look dingy.

                  ------------------
                  Captain James Collier
                  McMahan Fire Rescue
                  KCTCS Area 6 Instructor

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                  • #10
                    I use an extractor and air dry or use a drying room.

                    As for gear bursting into flame I actually saw it once. After a long day of burning(training), one arsonist came out of the building and his back was off. His gear was a mess with ash and who know what else. That was more than enough proof for me. (Note this is once in 10 years I say it.)

                    Another reason I was my gear is so when I run a wreck or a smells and bells call I don't smell like I just came back from a 3 alarmer. I take care of my gear so it can take care of me.

                    ------------------
                    Keep Safe!

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                    • #11
                      klingerjr33 - honey brook, eh?

                      [This message has been edited by WillB (edited 06-01-2001).]

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                      • #12
                        jizumper-5,
                        Burning gear in a burn building is not uncommon at all. In fact, I teach at a fire academy and have burned numerous sets, but it was all burned due to the excess heat and not because of being dirty. In fact, to support this argument, I burned a brand new set of Morning Pride 1 hour after taking it out of the box and that set didn't even have dust on it yet. For the record, I've also burned up a few helmets, and even an SCBA harness. Structural gear is just not made to withstand the constant high temperatures generated in most burn buildings. Again, don't think I'm saying not to wash your gear, I'm just not really convinced of the danger in not keeping it clean.

                        ------------------
                        Mike Gentili, Capt.
                        New Bedford Fire Dept.

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                        • #13
                          Most departments in my area use the same commercial laundry service. If you're going on vacation or leaving town for a couple of days we have someone drop our gear off and it's all clean when we get back. All at department expense, of course.

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                          • #14
                            We to clean our gear in a heavy duty washer, with a mild detergent, hosing off the heavy debris is a must. I have noticed that with my Nomex hood when it is clean and free of debris that my ears don't seem to get as hot, also the knee and elbow patches, will the burn up or catch fire most likely not but why take the chance. Mostly I would think that they want you co clean your gear so that particle don't get in between the small fibers and start to break the phyical structure down, just as recuse ropes, dive, and repelling ropes, should not be stepped on, again forcing irritants into the piece weakening them. I know it looks seasoned and tough, but the toughest are the weakest when injured. Stay safe, and remember you have to go home to your family and loved ones after each call and or shift.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would say that water is the best thing for it, the more chemicals you can keep away from your gear the better you are. I personally take my gear to a dry cleaner, then know exactly what to do with it, and every time I have got it back it has looked new. I don't recommend this for everyone, but it works for me. Now I would like to say a couple of more things, if you do get into washing it yourself, call the manufacturer of your gear and ask them what kind of detergant to use. They will know. and another thing, don't dry your gear in the sun, it breaks down the materials in your gear. Good luck!

                              ------------------
                              Chris Glidden
                              Training Officer

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